Volume 93A (2015) Pages 21-40
A satellite-based method of moisture and thermal budget analysis is examined in comparison with sounding array observations from Cooperative Indian Ocean experiment on Intraseasonal variability in the Year of 2011 (CINDY2011)/Dynamics of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) (DYNAMO)/Atmospheric Radiation Measurements (ARM) MJO Investigation Experiment (AMIE) and from the Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Coupled Ocean Atmosphere Response Experiment (TOGA COARE). Overall, the satellite analysis is found to quantitatively reproduce the statistical behaviors of large-scale mean vertical motion, moisture convergence, and moist static energy (MSE) convergence as observed from the sounding arrays. However, individual convective events generally do not delineate a systematic evolutionary track but are heavily spread around the ensemble mean of moisture and MSE convergences in composite space.
Next, the convective events are broken down into “developing”, “off-centered”, and “passing-by” classes using geostationary infrared measurements in an attempt to sort irrelevant samples that are not representative of convective dynamics. All the three composite classes show qualitatively similar evolutions except for the amplitude of variability, with genuine developing events being greatest in amplitude and passing-by disturbances being weakest. The spread among individual events is substantially reduced when the convective events immune to strong synoptic-scale influences are isolated and the contribution of horizontal advection is excluded from MSE convergence.